It was also one of his most rewarding.
Now he’s giving back to his university so that others might have an opportunity to succeed as well.
Marquette announced on Friday a partnership with Wade, who is donating $65,000 for each of the next three years for his “Live to Dream” foundation. Wade’s donation will help a summer reading program aimed to help bridge the literacy gap for inner-city children in Milwaukee.
“It’s cool that we’re able to build this relationship with Marquette with the program that they had and to be able to extend it and be a part of it and really focus on our youth out here in Milwaukee,” Wade said.
The university is hoping donors in Milwaukee and elsewhere will match Wade’s contribution.
“I just want people to be involved,” Wade said. “It’s just giving someone the platform. There are a lot of people who want to do things, but sometimes you don’t how or you don’t know what to do. So, this is just something people can be a part of.”
Wade was admitted to Marquette as a partial qualifier and had to prove himself in the classroom before being eligible to play his sophomore season. The admissions exception fell under the NCAA’s eligibility bylaw known as Proposition 48. Wade succeeded at becoming eligible and went on to star at Marquette for two years before turning pro.
“I worked very hard,” Wade said. “I really had to adjust to a lot and really had to focus and buckle down on the importance of education and my academics.
“At the time, I felt the sense that I wanted to do right because Marquette at the time had never taken a Prop 48, it wasn’t what the university was known for, so I was the first one and I wanted to make everyone feel proud.
“So, I felt a little pressure from that. But, all in all, I had a lot of help to help me get to the point where I was eligible the next year.”
Guard Brandon Knight of Broward County and his clutch three-point shooting helped the Milwaukee Bucks defeat the Heat in the first meeting of the season between the two teams. On Friday, Knight added to his breakout season with another strong effort. He is averaging nearly 18 points per game.
“He has gotten much better,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It has been steady progress with him. He came in very talented but had to learn the league and really had to learn the point guard position. He does a lot of things for them. He’s a scoring point guard, but he’s setting up other guys. He’s getting them into offense.”
Knight entered Friday’s game against his hometown team with back-to-back games scoring 20 or more points. He had 27 points and eight assists on Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and then scored 25 points on Wednesday against the Mavericks. The Bucks lost both games by a combined scoring margin of five points. In addition to his scoring, Knight is averaging 6.0 assists per game.
“I just think he’s playing with more confidence,” Wade said. “I think Jason Kidd has helped him tremendously being one of the best point guards to ever play the game is now his head coach. He is just very aggressive and confident. This is a new group he’s playing with, and he’s being the leader of the group.”